Kolkata: A day after two councillors, one of the TMC and the other of the Congress, were shot dead in two districts of Bengal, the police said on Monday that one person has been arrested and two others detained for their alleged involvement in the murders.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in a meeting, has asked senior police officers to take strict action in the two cases, sources in the state secretariat stated.
Congress councillor Tapan Kandu and TMC’s Anupam Dutta were on Sunday evening shot dead in separate incidents in Jhalda area of Purulia and Panihati in North 24 Parganas respectively.
In Dutta’s case, one person, suspected to be the shooter, was arrested from Agarpara in North 24 Parganas after locals caught him on Sunday night as he was trying to flee, according to a senior police officer.
“The accused, after committing the crime, had changed his shirt and hid inside a jungle in the district. Locals, who knew he was hiding, set the jungle on fire, forcing him to come out. He was then handed over to the police.
“The firearm used in the crime, one mobile phone without a SIM card, and a train ticket were found in his possession,” the officer said.
The suspected shooter was produced before a local court, which sent him to 10-day police custody.
Apart from that, another person has been detained in connection with the Panihati councillor’s murder, the senior officer said, without divulging further details.
During the day, Kandu’s elder brother has also been detained from Jhalda area in Purulia.
Kandu was a four-time councillor from Jhalda.
Birbhum Superintendent of Police S Selvamurugan, when contacted, said that no written complaint has been filed in connection with the murder of the Congress councillor thus far, but the deceased leader’s elder brother had been detained.
Family members of Kandu alleged that he was under “immense pressure” to join the ruling TMC, and his refusal to give in to that demand caused his death.
“We are probing the matter. As of now, we can’t say anything more as the investigation is in a very preliminary stage,” Selvamurugan added.
The state unit of Congress claimed that the Inspector-in-charge (IC) of Jhalda and local TMC leaders had been mounting “pressure” on Kandu to join the state’s ruling camp, and the leader was murdered for not wavering.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha and state president of the party, Adhir Chowdhury, who paid a visit to Kandu’s family on Monday afternoon, too, said that he was murdered by the goons of the TMC, and the local police.
“The Jhalda municipality saw a hung house after polls and Kandu and his wife were asking for help from Independent candidates. Was that a mistake? His wife has said that the TMC, through the police, was putting pressure on them to join the TMC. The local IC had been threatening them to join the TMC for several months. And when he (IC) could not manage to do that, Kandu was murdered,” Chowdhury said after meeting the deceased leader’s wife.
Describing Kandu as a “martyr”, he said that his dedication to the party would be remembered by the future generations.
Chowdhury, during the day, led a rally in the area in protest, with some of Kandu’s followers seen pelting the Jhalda police station building with stones.
Senior TMC leader and state urban development minister Firhad Hakim, however, rubbished the allegations and said that Kandu’s family members were “made to say those things”.
“These are baseless allegations. When such mishaps happen in a family, aggrieved members listen to people and make claims without going into the root of the matter. Law requires proof and the police will collect that,” Hakim said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a high-level meeting on the two murders with senior police officers, including ADG (Law and Order), ADG CID and the Kolkata police commissioner.
Home secretary BP Gopalika was also present at the meeting, a source at the secretariat said.
The CM directed the police officers to initiate “strict measures”, as opposition parties were trying to disrupt the law and order situation in the state, the source added.
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